Main image of article If You Want a Tech Job at Microsoft, Mastering This Skill Could Prove Key

Let’s say you want to land a job at Microsoft. Just like anyone else, though, you only have so much time and resources to master certain tech skills. Which skills should you focus on first?

For an answer, we can turn to Burning Glass, which collects and analyzes millions of job postings from across the country (including Microsoft’s). Based on job-posting data from the past four months, it’s clear that anyone applying for a technologist role at Microsoft should probably learn Azure, the company’s cloud-based backbone. 

If you’re unfamiliar with Azure, perhaps the best place to start is Microsoft Learn, which offers a variety of self-paced labs and lessons in Azure and other Microsoft technologies; you can pursue whatever learning track suits you best, and several courses are free. For example, you could start with an Introduction to Azure Fundamentals and  move from there to modules on Azure architectural components or compute services. Fortunately, many of these modules are short, and if you already have experience with cloud tools, you could zip through them quickly. 

If you want to prove to a hiring manager that you actually have the necessary Azure skills, you’ll want to consider taking Microsoft’s certification exams, which can cost $165 each. Microsoft’s documentation breaks down the exams’ content. Guy Hummel, Cloud Academy’s Azure and Google Cloud Content Lead, told Dice last year that the Microsoft Certified Solutions Architect certification and Azure Administrator associate-level certification are both “very popular,” along with Fundamentals Exam AZ-900 (which is big among those who aren’t planning on getting one of the more technical certifications).

Microsoft is on the lookout for other popular tech skills, including SQL, Python, Java, and JavaScript. That’s good news for a broad swath of technologists who haven’t necessarily mastered something relatively niche like machine learning. If you truly want to boost your chances of landing a job at the company, though, learning Azure seems like a must.